(...) If it was 100% software like the PS1 emulator, they could have added it at no extra costs. But since PS2 BC requires at least a GS (because no console GPU out there has a high enough fill rate to emulate it) along with other components, that brings the costs up, PCB size increases, and so on.(...)
I was actually under the impression that the 80gb CECHExx line actually had a 100% Software emulation (both for EE and GS), but I guess I should have done more researching
The 60GB model launched in Europe was a new model (shared with the 80GB model launched subsequently in USA) which contains only a modified version of the Graphics Synthesiser chip from the PS2 and not the Emotion Engine chip. The European launch model therefore used a combination of software and the modified version of the PS2 Graphics Synthesiser chip to deliver backwards compatibility for PS2 titles. As a result the percentage of backwards compatible PS2 titles was slightly reduced.
But, earlier on in the same article:The 40GB model, to be launched in Europe on 10th October, is a new model and is not equipped with any of the semi conductors from the PS2, and backwards compatibility would therefore have to be achieved by software emulation alone. The sheer numbers of PS2 titles available, together with the increased complexity of using a software only solution for each and every title means that to ensure accurate software emulation for the majority would be technically challenging, time consuming and costly. As we have mentioned on several occasions, our engineering resources are now focused on developing new and innovative features and services for the PS3 and, as a result the 40GB model does not have backwards compatibility with PS2 titles.
Though, That is to say that a 100% software emulation solution may not be out of the realm of possibility, just yet. Yes, development of such software that can even be called "functioning" is not only difficult and time consuming, but also expensive. The major difficulty with any software solution is that there will be no guarantee that software engineers could make every piece of code from any given ps2 CD to be emulated perfectly on the PS3. Even if they managed to do that, could you imagine the size and complexity of such a piece of software that needed to be installed in your system?
Though, let's do say that Sony did manage to complete such an undertaking, and do are able to utilize a highly functioning and usable software solution for the PS3. It may be possible to appease the BC-demanding crowd if Sony is to 1.) install the software to all existing SKI line with no price increase(and thus them eating the cost of development, in a way), 2.) create an offshoot SKU with a price higher than an existing SKU line (maybe an "Elite" package, due to a lack of a better term, having a bigger hard drive and other extras) and/or 3.) offer the Software as a pay for download from the PSN, or offer it for free and having Sony eat the development cost yet again.
I will say this one caveat though, the truth of the situation is that the market penetration of the PS2 is so great right now that I don't really see the reason why there are people craving BC, when there is a good chance that they themselves already own a perfectly working PS2. Hell, my fiance had a launch model, of which we sold in order to afford a 60gb PS3. Hell, you could just "tack" on the price of buying a used PS2 for someone to a price dropped PS3, and you will still be way ahead than any current PS3 owner.
As a personaly anecdote, I haven't really played any ps2 titles on my PS3 at all lately. I remember playing a round or two of Odin's Sphere (a game of which I haven't finished yet...), but aside from that, I mainly play the current generation offerings that the console can offer, and I'm not worst for it. The reason why I invested on a BC PS3 borded on a purely aesthetic one; I wanted to reduce the clutter on our entertainment center, and I thought it would be ludicrous to have so many consoles in full display (between us, we also own a 360 and a Wii). I'm not bitter with me not touching the BC aspect of my ps3 and my fiance has said that it is better to have it, so we could at least finish our ps2 backlog (which BTW, is still stagnating).
Just my two cents on the issue of BC
As for the price drop... Why the hell not?